"Political Islam" is a recently developed term used to label the wide-scale activities of individuals or organizations advocating transformation of the state and entire society according to "Islamic" rules.[1] The term is often used in connection with the movements which represent the current political powers in the name of Islam, emerging at the end of 20th century.[2] Some academic authors use the term Islamism to describe the same phenomenon or use the two terms interchangeably.[2]

Development of the term

The terminology used for the phenomenon of political Islam differs amongst experts. Martin Kramer was one of the first experts who started using the term “political Islam” in 1980. In 2003, he stated that political Islam can also be seen as contradiction because nowhere in the Muslim world is a religion separated from politics.[3][4] Some experts use terms like Islamism, pointing out the same set of occurrences or they confuse both terms. Dekmejian was amongst the first experts who made remarks on politicisation of Islam in the context of the failure of secular Islamic governments while he uses both Islamism and Fundamentalism at the same time (rather than political Islam).[5]

The term political Islam has been also used in connection with foreign communities, referring to the movements or groups invested in a broad fundamentalist revival connected to a certain political agenda.[3] Khan incorporates into political Islam all the Islamic movements promoting a political system based solely on Islam which must be followed by every Muslim. [6] Some of the experts also use other descriptive terms in order to distinguish various ideological courses within political Islam: conservative, progressive, militant, radical, jihadist etc.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Krämer, Gudrun. “Political Islam.” In Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Vol. 6. Edited by Richard C. Martin, 536–540. New York: Macmillan, 2004. via Encyclopedia.com
  2. ^ a b c Voll, John O.; Sonn, Tamara. "Political Islam". Oxford Bibliographies Online Datasets. doi:10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0063. 
  3. ^ a b Kramer, Martin (2003-03-01). "Coming to Terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?". Middle East Quarterly. 
  4. ^ Kramer, Martin (1980). "Political Islam". The Washington Papers. VIII. 
  5. ^ Dekmejian, R. Hrair (1980). "The Anatomy of Islamic Revival: Legitimacy Crisis, Ethnic Conflict and the Search for Islamic Alternatives". Middle East Journal. 34 (1): 1–12. 
  6. ^ "What is Political Islam?". E-International Relations. Retrieved 2017-05-26.